Synergy 2021. IT Business & IT Education, the largest specialized educational conference in Ukraine, took place on December 16-17, bringing together representatives of government, business and educational institutions in panel discussions. During 2 days, there were 8 panel discussions with the participation of 50 leading speakers, 5 practical workshops, as well as a presentation of IT education reform and a media panel with the participation of editors-in-chief of Ukrainian media.
This year, the event became the largest in the eight years of its existence:
- 300 Members and guests joined the event live, taking an active part in the panel discussions;
- Over 3,000 people joined the live broadcast;
- 600 people participated in 5 practical online workshops.
- Development of non-formal education, i.e. private schools, courses that teach IT specialities;
- Increasing the competitiveness and autonomy of higher education institutions;
- Reform of mathematics and computer science lessons in schools.
“Ukrainian IT is actively developing. This year alone, IT exports grew by 35% and the number of companies grew by 22%. At the same time, the demand for IT specialists is also increasing. It is estimated that by 2030, the IT industry will need at least 500-600 thousand professionals. That is why the reform of IT education is one of our priorities today. This sphere of education needs a comprehensive upgrade at all levels. We need to balance systemic reforms and overnight fixes. We are already starting to prepare young people for the future by providing them with up-to-date knowledge and skills,” – said Mykhailo Fedorov, the Minister of Digital Transformation.
Synergy 2021 Conference is a platform to discuss the key challenges of IT education, where Members openly argue and propose their solutions and share success stories.
“IT business and IT education are two sides of the same coin. As a business, we are ready to invest in educators’ initiatives, support and share professional expertise. Certainly, we are unable to teach better than educators do. For our part, we are ready to help by pointing out what skills and competencies students should have when graduating from universities and direct new talents to build a career in the global market.” – said Yurii Antoniuk, Vice President of the Association, Head of EPAM in Central and Eastern Europe.
“Currently, businesses can only financially support universities through sponsorship or charitable assistance – that’s not enough. Increasing financial support for business universities requires transparent mechanisms for investing in education, removing bureaucratic barriers to targeted use of funds, and transparent rules for obtaining a return on investment. We hope that thanks to the reform we will be able to solve these issues,” – commented Taras Kytsmey, сo-founder and Board Member at SoftServe.
Maksym Pochebut, Vice President of the Association on Educational Issues, Chief Learning Officer at Sigma Software Group, spoke about 5 directions of the Association’s work in the field of education: secondary and higher education, non-formal education, industry promotion and R&D. In particular, it is important to build cooperation between business and research institutes, academic institutions to develop the IT industry in holistically.
“New schools of non-formal education, commercial universities are appearing on the education market. This positively affects the industry, ensuring the arrival of new talents. However, this iceberg of positive aspects hides the negative market trends: lower entry levels for junior and trainee professionals, companies invest in basic IT education programs thus taking away work from universities, and teachers leave teaching in schools”, – said Maksym Pochebut, Vice President of the Association on Educational Issues, Chief Learning Officer at Sigma Software Group.
The Conference was also attended by foreign speakers: Rick Shangraw, the President of Cintana Education, the Founding President of American University Kyiv, and Christian Busch, Professor at New York University and the London School of Economics.
In particular, Rick Shangraw drew attention to the importance of cross-sectoral training for IT students so that they could try out different role models, for example, as a service consumer, a software designer, a product developer, etc. Christian Busch emphasizes the development of the ability to adapt to unplanned changes, to be flexible and agile in today’s world, which is constantly and unpredictably changing.
“Today UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group serves over 30% of the Ukrainian IT market. We believe in the strong potential of our IT professionals, who create useful innovations, contribute to digital transformation and sustainable development of both the economy and society. That is why, as a partner of the IT Association, we support events that provide opportunities to reveal the abilities of talented Ukrainian IT professionals”, – said Konstantin Lezhnin, Deputy Chairman of the Board for Retail UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group.
Also this year, for the first time, a panel discussion was held at the conference with the participation of editors of well-known Ukrainian media. Members of the media panel: Stas Yurasov, editor-in-chief of dev.ua, Serhiy Lebid, editor of bit.ua, Zhanna Dufina, director of communications of the public association Osvitoria and Yuriy Marchenko, editor-in-chief of Platfor.ma. The discussion was moderated by Valeria Chachybaya, producer of Forbes Ukraine, co-founder of Radio Aristocrats. One of the key messages of the discussions is that by reforming IT education, the media can be an effective transmitter of change, for example, by covering the stories of switchers and IT professionals.